Select Ecology Projects

Waller Creek-Reilly Pond City of Austin, Travis County

Cypress PoolTwo existing flood detention ponds, the Reilly Pond and the Austin Independent School District (AISD) pond were proposed for modification to increase capacity in order to attenuate flood flows within the upper Waller Creek urban watershed. In support of this project, Hicks & Company provided environmental services to identify potential environmental constraints associated with the modifications including delineation of jurisdictional waters (including wetlands) subject to federal regulation under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act; and development of a riparian restoration plan to remove invasive giant cane and restore native trees, shrubs, grasses, and forbs along 1,100 feet of the riparian corridor.

Arch with Limestone Bed

Deliverables included a Technical Report summarizing the results of the environmental constraints evaluation; a riparian corridor vegetation restoration plan, and associated irrigation plan. Required agency coordination was conducted to assure state and federal regulatory compliance for natural and cultural resources. This included consultation with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas Historical Commission, and preparation of a pre-construction notification (PCN) for a Nationwide Permit 43, Stormwater Management Facilities, for submittal to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Hill Country Conservancy Golden cheeked Warbler Habitat Assessment – Triple C Ranch, Hays County

12073 _02 This project consisted of a habitat assessment, presence/absence surveys, and territory mapping for the federally listed endangered Golden-cheeked Warbler (Setophaga chrysoparia) on approximately 710 acres, with habitat mapped on 1,485 acres. Survey methods followed USFWS protocols outlined in USFWS Section 10(a)(1)(A) Scientific Permit Requirements for Conducting Presence/Absence Surveys for Endangered Golden-cheeked Warblers. A total of nine surveys were conducted, along with territory mapping by ecologists familiar with GCWA habitat, calls, and behavior. Approximately 122.5 labor-hours were expended in the survey effort.

Golden cheeked Warbler - Hicks & CompanyA USFWS- and TPWD-permitted staff member was present during each of these visits. All avian and wildlife species encountered were documented, as were atmospheric conditions required in the USFWS protocol (range of air temperatures, wind direction and speed, cloud cover, and precipitation). Habitat (vegetation) descriptions were also provided. Productivity data (find females, nests, fledglings, etc.) for each territory was recorded. A total of 11 territories were mapped and monitored.

Jewett Mine Houston Toad Survey  – Leon, Freestone, and Limestone Counties

Houston toad - Hicks & CompanyIn summer of 2014, Hicks & Company completed a Houston Toad Survey Report for two permit areas of the Jewett Mine in Leon and Freestone Counties, Texas. In the survey, 14 sites were identified as a suitable habitat for the Houston Toad. Each of the 14 sites were visited at least 6 times, the minimum amount required by USFWS protocol. Each site was visually inspected for toads, tadpoles, and egg strands, as well the utilization of play-back tapes following a 5-minute listening period to confirm presence/absence of Houston Toad. The results of the survey identified 8 anuran species of toad (table 2 of report) within the surveyed area. However, results for the presence of the Houston Toad in the surveyed area concluded to be negative. Due to four seasons of negative survey results as well as fragmentation/degradation of the toads natural habitat due to logging, alteration of watershed damages, and wetland degradation/destruction; it seemed logical to investigators that continued surface mining at Jewett Mine would have no effect on the toad.


SH 130 – Plum Creek Mitigation Plan

 UEC Palanga Uranuim Mine Permitting Support – Duval County

La Palangana In Situ Recovery Project Ecological Surveys. Project manager for required ecological evaluations at proposed ISR expansion area in support of radioactive material license (uranium mine) expansion permit application for submission to Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Scope of work includes quantitative plant surveys, jurisdictional waters (including wetlands) delineations, threatened and endangered species habitat assessment, bird surveys and general wildlife surveys. La Palangana Ranch, Duval County, Texas.